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Tanzania seeks US$41.3M from Barrick unit Acacia Mining in unpaid taxes

A Tanzanian judicial tribunal has demanded that pay about US$41.3million after ruling that the Barrick Gold Corp. unit failed to pay over US$40 millionin corporate taxes between 2010 and 2013 owed to the government, The Globe and Mail reported April 5.

The ruling comes despite the company starting to paycorporate taxes in March after signing a memorandum of understanding with theTanzania Revenue Authority to prepay about US$20 million in corporate taxes spreadover quarterly payments of US$5 million in 2016.

In late March, the country's Tax Revenue Appeals Tribunalrejected the company's explanation for failing to pay corporate taxes while acceptingthe government's argument that Acacia sought to avoid taxes.

The judicial tribunal noted that Acacia paid more thanUS$400 million in dividends on profits from its Nyanzaga, North Mara and Buzwagi gold-mining operations in the country during 2010to 2013.

"Ultimately, the fact that none of [Acacia Mining]'ssubsidiaries is declaring any profit that could provide its holding companywith such huge net profits sufficient to distribute to its shareholders fouryears in a row is what in our respectful opinion constitutes the evidence of asophisticated scheme of tax evasion," the tribunal said.

Acacia has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to appeal theruling in Tanzania's highest court, saying the decision is flawed and that thecompany has been following the terms of its investment agreement with thegovernment.

The company believes that its estimated US$3 billioninvestment in the country will outweigh its remaining corporate tax deductionsfor another three years.

In addition to this investment, the company says it has paidUS$372 million in other taxes and royalties over the past three years.

"Acacia and its subsidiaries fully comply with allinternational and domestic tax legislation and have not and never willundertake any form of tax evasion or tax avoidance schemes," the companysaid in a statement, according to the report.